The ship was beached on 31 August after a collision with another vessel, the Adam LNG / sur

Master of OS 35 bulk carrier charged with seven offences by Gibraltar police, amid new pollution fear

The ship is beached 700 metres off Catalan Bay and there is concern if the vessel's structure cannot withstand the adverse weather conditions which are expected on Sunday and Monday

DEBBIE BARTLETT Gibraltar

The Royal Gibraltar Police confirmed this Wednesday morning, 14 September, that the Master of the OS 35 bulk carrier, which was beached after colliding with another ship on 31 August, has been charged with seven offences.

Abdelabari Kaddura, a 53-year-old Syrian national, has been charged on two counts of conduct endangering ships, structures or individuals and also with contravening the convention for safety of life at sea; risking collision; failing to take appropriate action to avoid collision; damaging a breeding site of a wild animal of a European Protected Species and damage to scheduled monuments or buildings.

The latter charge refers to damage to the Gorham Cave World Heritage Site which was caused by the fuel spill.

Fears of further pollution

With regard to the stricken ship, which is beached 700 metres off Catalan Bay, there is now concern about whether the structure will withstand the adverse weather conditions which are expected in the Bay on Sunday and Monday.

The ship's hull is broken, although not completely split in two, and the Gibraltar Port Authority and the salvors, Resolve, are considering all options to minimise pollution as much as possible.

The booms around the OS 35 are now soiled and have become a source of sheening; the outer one is to be replaced but they may have to be removed altogether if the weather conditions are bad because they will not be effective and may break up.

There are probably still some pockets of unrecoverable, unpumpable fuel residues on the ship, which are and will continue to be the source of some sheening but they may be released in bad weather and the sea could push some of this fuel towards the shoreline.

The government and the Port Authority will be releasing details of the action plan to minimise possible pollution in the next few days.